The killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque had already shaken the city's small Muslim community, prompting businesses to close and residents to temporarily move away amid fears of a deadly spate of Islamophobic hate crimes.
Then came Tuesday's news: The suspect, police say, is a 51-year-old man named Muhammad Syed, who is Muslim himself and whose motive may have been related to "interpersonal conflict."
"You would expect that learning that a suspect is found and has been detained, it would feel like a breath of relief," said Leena Aggad, the 23-year-old vice president of the University of New Mexico's Muslim Student Association.
Instead, she said, news of the arrest felt "like another chain was placed on my heart."
The suspect is well-known in the Muslim community
Syed is well-known to the Muslim community in Albuquerque, multiple people told NPR. He regularly came to the same mosque that the victims had attended.
"For months, this guy was praying next to other members of the community as if everything was normal," Aggad said. "It shocks you."
Syed has been charged in two of the four deaths, and police say he is the primary suspect in the other two killings. He was arrested during a traffic stop more than 100 miles from Albuquerque, authorities said Tuesday.